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1 T (7 g) chili powder
1 1/4 T (10 g) smoked paprika
3 t (3 g) chili flakes
1/4 t (1 g) cayenne pepper
2 t (4 g) cumin
1/4 t (1 g) cinnamon
1 1/2 T (22 g) brown sugar
1 T (10 g) kosher salt
1 T (4 g) whole coriander seeds

1. Combine all ingredients in spice grinder and grind (I use a small coffee grinder). Sprinkle over meat and massage to evenly distribute. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning halfway.
2. Lay the strips of beef in a dehydrator, being sure not to overlap the meat.
3. Adjust the dehydrator to the highest setting (mine was about 160 degrees F) and let it dehydrate for about 4-6 hours.

Man-O-Meter: 8

photo 2 (1)

Notes: I think it needs more salt, but I do enjoy the spice. Dried up much differently than the teriyaki version–wasn’t as smooth. Perhaps next time I’ll experiment with marinating time, and will rotate the dehydrator halfway through the process. Worth re-testing!

(Part 1 of 2)

If you’ve read my post about meatless meat sauce, and if you’ve actually made this or something like it, chances are you are in need of redemption. In preparation for our vacation to Maine, I was been busy baking and freezing quick breads and cookies. Searching for something savory that would hold up during the drive up, I turned to jerky. Beef jerky. Beef. It’s what my S.S. deserves after eating meatless meat with a smile without murdering me.

I purchased 4 pounds of top round, and my S.S. requested that I make two versions to keep things interesting. Since this was made with him in mind, I did just that. Here we have version number one, my take on Teriyaki:

2 pounds (908 g) top round (bottom round, flank, or anything used to make London Broil will work just fine)
1/4 cup (75 g) soy sauce
2 T (25 g) fish sauce
1/4 cup (70 g) Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup (60 g) water
1/2 cup (125 g) brown sugar, packed
5 cloves (25 g) garlic, crushed
15 turns (1 g) freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice top round against the grain into 1/4-inch slices.
2. In a large dish, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Add meat to the marinade and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning halfway.
3. Lay the strips of beef in a dehydrator, being sure not to overlap the meat.
4. Adjust the dehydrator to the highest setting (mine was about 160 degrees F) and let it dehydrate for about 4-6 hours.

Man-O-Meter: 9

photo 1

Notes: absolutely fabulous flavor, which could use a little more garlic, if preferred (which I do). Otherwise, salt was spot-on, and the balance between sweet and savory was just what you’d expect from a teriyaki sauce. A definite keeper.

This one has potential, but needs some work. Needs more “wow!”. More cayenne, more espresso, more black pepper. Less sugar. Needs something else…

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp finely ground espresso
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir, breaking up any lumps.
2. Store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.

Makes enough for 1 rack of ribs.

dry rub

After a dinner of frozen foods, the microwave continued to reign into dessert.

As is typical in my apartment, there was a minimal selection and I was getting desperate. It didn’t help that I was flipping through one of Lidia Bastianich‘s cookbooks, making the situation all the more humiliating. But there, on page 23 of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, was a recipe for baked apples. Now we all know that I was in no shape to make her version; but, with my microwave in gear, I made a simple dessert that was done in no time.

Core an apple, leaving the bottom intact. Fill with brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice (or any combination of warm spices) and a very small pinch of salt. Top with a pat of butter and microwave on medium power until the apple is cooked through (for me, it took about eight minutes).

It was a rainy fall evening and, after an unseasonable dinner of takeout sushi, my sweet tooth started acting up. It happens every night, but I was in a desperate situation: there was nothing sweet in the apartment, save the brown sugar that had cemented itself against a supposedly air-tight glass jar.

After some investigating, I spotted a half-empty box of prepared puff pastry in the freezer. And I had plenty of pumpkin pie spice that I had used to make sweet potato custard. With these two findings, it was essential I dislodge enough of the brown sugar from the bottom of the jar to muster up a decent dessert. And that’s exactly what I did.

Here are the ingeniously named, Puff Pastry Snakes:

Okay, so they look pretty strange now that I’m seeing them again. But they’re damn good. Simply unfold a sheet of thawed puff pastry, work it with a rolling pin (or, if you’re me, a wine bottle) to seal the seams, sprinkle generously with brown sugar and pumpkin spice (or cinnamon, or whatever), roll tightly, cut into one-inch segments and bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes on each side.

They become crispy and flaky and, if you’re lucky, the brown sugar oozes onto the tops and bottoms of the snakes, creating a caramel coating. They go perfectly with a cup of tea.